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bluesguy

Experiences teaching people Hero Game system

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Huh? Did somebody advocate for GM tyranny when I wasn't looking? Maybe I've lost the continuity of this discussion, but I can't figure out whose point you are refuting.

 

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you 100%, but that's because what you said should, well, go without saying. Who in their right mind would argue otherwise?

 

 

Fifth and a biggie for me, don't just hand out experience points.  The players earn them, but seldom see them as 'free' points without taking a 'hit' in the process.  In our games, the players don't get their 'points' at the end of a session, they get them at the beginning of the next.  I will put together a paper with a selection of options (usually at least 4) for the player based on what happened in the previous session(s).   If the selections were to be equal to 2 points it might go like option #1 is +1 STR and a favor, #2 is a contact 11-, #3 is 2 End and a favor, and #4 is ONE Xp.

So if they want points they can spend however they feel, they will only get HALF what the other players get.

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I wonder what advice people here have on finding new players.  My old group I've been playing with since, oh, the late 80s, has shuffled off like paste-eating infants to another game system because its "easier" (I'm not bitter or anything) after playing Hero for decades, and I want new players.  

 

I have an idea for a Champions campaign I want to playtest and possibly write up as a Champions 101 series of adventures and sourcebook (ambitious, I know but I have no life).  But I need players and I only know of 2 reliable ones.

Roll20.net is great unless you are set on face to face games.

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My old group I've been playing with since, oh, the late 80s, has shuffled off like paste-eating infants to another game system because its "easier" (I'm not bitter or anything) after playing Hero for decades, and I want new players.

This part first ...

 

1. I GM so I pick the game system. If you don't want to play Hero well then find another GM.

2. I tried playing a d20 game within the last few years and it was everything remember hating about that system. So won't play anything except Hero.

3. I have so many hobby options right now I can't keep up most of the time so if I can't play that would make me sad but I have plenty of other cool things to do.

 

I wonder what advice people here have on finding new players.

 

  1. Create a compelling ad for your game.  It should be something you can use both online and offline.
  2. Sign up on Pen & Paper Games and post an ad there.  Also be on the look out for any new people who show up in your area.  I found two of my players at P&PG and they didn't know Hero. 
  3. Sign up for local gaming/geek oriented meetup.com groups in your area.  My newest player came from a Meetup group post he made and I responded to.  He is so turned onto Hero after one week he bought FHC and a couple of other PDFs.
  4. You could go old fashioned and post notices at local gaming/comic book stores

For my online ads/posts I point people to these two articles on my website:

I haven't gone with the old fashioned ad at gaming/comic book stores.  We have a full table now.

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@procyon Does your rule #5 just read harsher than you actually apply with your table? Is it something you do with new players or even experienced ones?

 

With my players - since so many of them don't know the game system - I do provide them with extensive lists of places to 'spend their XP'. 

 

For instance with one player:

  • 4XP per +1 Damage class w/ your Fencing.  That means all the attacks will be 'bumped' up one for damage.  For instance a thrust is currently 2d6 w/ STR.  But w/ +1 DC it becomes 2d6+1 w/ STR
  • 1 XP per +1 Body - he keeps taking body ;-)
  • 1 XP will get you a INT base roll for the Area knowledge/culture knowledge of the places you have been
  • 4 XP - ROAR - +10 PRE only for making a PRE attack and you have to roar (incantation) - his character is a bi-pedal lion person

And in another case:

  • 2 XP +2 STR this will increase your damage w/ the sword by one more damage class.  Right now your sword damage is 1.5 d6 (no martial arts or spell boosting) and it would become 2d6.
  • 3 XP to convert your +1 with Hand to Hand combat to a Overall Combat skill.  This won't change your skill ability in hand to hand combat but it will improve your skill with the crossbow
  • 4 XP to increase the +1 with Intelligence skills to a +2

And even my experienced players always ask ahead of time before spending XP.

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I ran a game a few years back trying to teach people Fantasy Hero and met a great guy (he's on here as Zeropoint, actually) and he'd be a good add.  I really prefer face to face games, and I might do an ad in the local game store to try to generate interest.  I'd love to teach people how to play Champions and work up a really tight presentation and scenarios for publication.

 

I will give some stuff Bluesguy suggests a shot when I have a chance.

 

Also, the ideas he presents on spending xps are a good idea for beginning players.  Just about every new player will be coming from other, usually level-based systems and have a tough time figuring out how to play with hero's points.  Giving them some structures they're familiar with might help them with the transition and to help shape how they understand developing a character.

 

I tried the Meetup thing, that didn't work out too well.

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1) I think part of CT's problem is that he's dealing with a group of players who want to play a fantasy campaign. As I mentioned, the perceived complexity of the Hero System typically looks appealing only to fans of superhero gaming. As long as his players lean towards playing fantasy, they will likely prefer simpler systems like d20 or Savage Worlds.

 

2) Requiring XP to be spent according to a GM-derived list of choices is definitely heavy-handed. However, it is no more tyrannical than every other RPG out there that stipulates in the rules themselves what abilities your class provides with each level you advance. Sure, it's a bit contrary to the Hero System ethos of giving players control over character concept and design. However, most Champions GMs I know insist that XP be spent in ways that are consistent with what the characters do (or what happens to them) in-game. And if players want something radical, then they work with the GM to contrive a plotline that results in a classic "radiation accident". The only GMs that I've met who allow players to spend XPs totally unsupervised are the lazy ones. Note that even in this case, the GM provides a way to spend XP that is completely off-menu, it just costs twice as much (XP) to do so. Heavy-handed, to be sure, but we don't know the kind of players this GM is dealing with, and maybe they need a strong hand guiding their choices...

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I will give some stuff Bluesguy suggests a shot when I have a chance.

Good luck. Be persistent.

 

Also, the ideas he presents on spending xps are a good idea for beginning players.  Just about every new player will be coming from other, usually level-based systems and have a tough time figuring out how to play with hero's points.  Giving them some structures they're familiar with might help them with the transition and to help shape how they understand developing a character.

After a game I will award XP.  Some players know right away what they want and will ask about it or will be saving up for something specific.  I have three players who know the system that well.

 

I have three other players who are just learning the system or really don't want to know about details on how to build a character but they do know what they want their character to be able to do.  For the 2nd group I will send out an email when I notice they have a big pile of XP.   Something like "Hey did you know you have 12 XP any ideas on how you would like to spend it...."

 

Sometimes they will say "Oh I want my character to be able to do that do I have the XP for that?"  And then I fire up HD and figure it out.  Or sometimes they will ask "I don't have any idea do you have any suggestions?"

 

I tried the Meetup thing, that didn't work out too well.

Please share?

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1) I think part of CT's problem is that he's dealing with a group of players who want to play a fantasy campaign. As I mentioned, the perceived complexity of the Hero System typically looks appealing only to fans of superhero gaming. As long as his players lean towards playing fantasy, they will likely prefer simpler systems like d20 or Savage Worlds.

Yes a group that only wants to play fantasy is not going to be up for a superhero game. That has nothing to do with the system. As for the other issue, that has been beat to death in many other threads ....

 

 

2) Requiring XP to be spent according to a GM-derived list of choices is definitely heavy-handed. However, it is no more tyrannical than every other RPG out there that stipulates in the rules themselves what abilities your class provides with each level you advance.

Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my case. Players who know the system ask before they spend XP. I rarely tell them no unless I think it will unbalance the whole game or if it seems to be heading outside of the character concept.

 

Sure, it's a bit contrary to the Hero System ethos of giving players control over character concept and design. ....Heavy-handed, to be sure, but we don't know the kind of players this GM is dealing with, and maybe they need a strong hand guiding their choices...

Right and if the players are mini-maxers then a strong hand is needed.

 

I am not dealing with those kinds of players.

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Its not so much champions vs fantasy.  Right now we're playing Savage Worlds Star Wars.  I honestly wouldn't even want to try using the system for Fantasy or Supers, it just doesn't look like it could hack either very well at all.  Next campaign someone wants to run they're rumbling about it being a Western game.  Its just they think 6th edition is too haaarrd and like the cards and stuff for Savage World.  Its no easier than Hero but unfortunately some miscommunication happened and its really hard to go back and get people to start at square one.

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This is nothing new to say (in fact is blindingly obvious), but I can only imagine that SW and M&M outsell Hero in the superhero (and other) arenas due to the graphics and layout.  I own products from all three lines, and M&M in particular simply drips superheroic action on every page, with visually interesting characters and use of color layout to make the reading easy on the eyes.   I know in my heart it is not as good a system, but the bells and whistles get me enthused  to play a supers rpg on a weird, instinctual level.  Don't get me wrong, the 6ed books were a step in the right direction with quality color art, but Green Ronin has taken it up a notch or two.  If we could just mix their chocolate with Hero's peanut butter. . . . :dh:

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Its not so much champions vs fantasy.  Right now we're playing Savage Worlds Star Wars.  I honestly wouldn't even want to try using the system for Fantasy or Supers, it just doesn't look like it could hack either very well at all.  Next campaign someone wants to run they're rumbling about it being a Western game.  Its just they think 6th edition is too haaarrd and like the cards and stuff for Savage World.  Its no easier than Hero but unfortunately some miscommunication happened and its really hard to go back and get people to start at square one.

You are right. People like stuff. They like good-looking stuff better, and good-looking stuff that evokes the genre being played is liked best if all.

 

I have begun to look at providing what the games companies do not.

 

I now rarely use official character sheets, provide counters for END and cards for powers with key information such as dice to roll and END cost on them. Players play powers in front of them and power them up with their END counters. At post 12 recoveries I deal END back to them.

 

It us visual, it is tactile bureaucracy and the cards give a visual representation of what is happening. The cards are a mishmash of scenes and powers ripped off from my comic collection and customised for each player.

 

That kind of thing gives players a very different view of the game they are playing. It is surprising to think that Champions probably started this kind of thing when it issued character sheets with silhouettes on them to encourage players to imagine what their heroes would look like...

 

Doc

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This is nothing new to say (in fact is blindingly obvious), ... Don't get me wrong, the 6ed books were a step in the right direction with quality color art, but Green Ronin has taken it up a notch or two.  If we could just mix their chocolate with Hero's peanut butter. . . . :dh:

 

There are a number of threads on the topic of Hero vs. {pick your flavor} game system.  I would like to stay focused on the topic at hand:  Experiences teaching people Hero Game system

 

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I now rarely use official character sheets, provide counters for END and cards for powers with key information such as dice to roll and END cost on them. Players play powers in front of them and power them up with their END counters. At post 12 recoveries I deal END back to them.

 

It us visual, it is tactile bureaucracy and the cards give a visual representation of what is happening. The cards are a mishmash of scenes and powers ripped off from my comic collection and customized for each player.

 

Any chance of you posting examples?

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Yes a group that only wants to play fantasy is not going to be up for a superhero game. That has nothing to do with the system.

From what I gather, CT isn't trying to sell his players on the idea of playing a superhero game; he's trying to sell them on the idea of playing a fantasy campaign using a system originally designed for superheroes, and he's meeting resistance because of his choice of system. While you're right that fantasy players aren't going to want to play superheroes, they might nevertheless benefit from trying superheroes, even if only briefly, so as to help them appreciate the Hero System's strengths as a system for any genre including fantasy.

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No, they just seem to want to use a different system, period.  We've been playing Hero since the late 80s.  I might be overreacting since it is very annoying to me to use some stepped down inferior rule set because its "easier" and has neato interactive devices like we're 11 years old but its frustrating.

 

I could slip some of the card ideas into the game - like the adventure cards for short term boosts. I've tried to work Hero points into the game but I have a hard time remembering.  I'm not fond of starting out with any but it might be worth giving out 1 point just to help me remember.  Nice tokens for that - we've been using poker chips - would probably be enjoyed.  I have the super stripped down character sheets worked up.

Of course the current campaign is over Fantasy Grounds and we don't even meet up any more.  I feel like I'm losing my hobby :(

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With my players - since so many of them don't know the game system - I do provide them with extensive lists of places to 'spend their XP'. 

 

For instance with one player:

  • 4XP per +1 Damage class w/ your Fencing.  That means all the attacks will be 'bumped' up one for damage.  For instance a thrust is currently 2d6 w/ STR.  But w/ +1 DC it becomes 2d6+1 w/ STR
  • 1 XP per +1 Body - he keeps taking body ;-)
  • 1 XP will get you a INT base roll for the Area knowledge/culture knowledge of the places you have been
  • 4 XP - ROAR - +10 PRE only for making a PRE attack and you have to roar (incantation) - his character is a bi-pedal lion person

And in another case:

  • 2 XP +2 STR this will increase your damage w/ the sword by one more damage class.  Right now your sword damage is 1.5 d6 (no martial arts or spell boosting) and it would become 2d6.
  • 3 XP to convert your +1 with Hand to Hand combat to a Overall Combat skill.  This won't change your skill ability in hand to hand combat but it will improve your skill with the crossbow
  • 4 XP to increase the +1 with Intelligence skills to a +2

And even my experienced players always ask ahead of time before spending XP.

 

Ok, it isn't like I am just saying - 'Hey, you don't want to play my way, you only get half the points.'

This is just in respect to 'new players' that are just starting and in all likelihood have never read through the rules.

 

More of what is above - especially with new players.

They don't know what cost there are, how they can spend them, etc.

If they don't already have a contact or favor on their sheet (that I probably wrote for their first adventures) - they probably have no idea it even exists.

So I take what the player says they think the character learned/accomplished - and try to translate it into how that would actually come out in the game on the sheet.

This gets to be a really big deal when a player is (like my youngest daughter in our current game) 11 y/o and it will be years before she gets down the rules.  If she wants her heroine (Alley Cat) to be able to do something - she will come to me and discuss it.  I will draw up the options and list them out as she gains XP - and she can pick what she feels is closest to what she is hoping for.  Of course, there are often times when the response is - 'that is going to take a loooongggg time and a lot of points.  Is that what you are really wanting to work for...

 

When the players get more experienced - I usually stop giving out the 'option' paper as they don't need it and the 'picks' (other than the straight point option) is usually one or two XP more than what they would normally get from the adventure - to try and get them to appreciate character development over min/max development.

Because (in my experience) most new players that have little understanding of the system and only have experience in games that reward becoming the most effective death machine ever - tend to try and figure out what makes that happen and spend every last point in that respect, never bothering to worry about the rest of the options and rules.

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I wonder what advice people here have on finding new players.  My old group I've been playing with since, oh, the late 80s, has shuffled off like paste-eating infants to another game system because its "easier" (I'm not bitter or anything) after playing Hero for decades, and I want new players.  

 

I have an idea for a Champions campaign I want to playtest and possibly write up as a Champions 101 series of adventures and sourcebook (ambitious, I know but I have no life).  But I need players and I only know of 2 reliable ones.

How I currently acquired my current group for Hero probably won't work for most.

All it takes is have a bunch of kids, then wait between 1 and 2 decades...

:whistle:

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1) I think part of CT's problem is that he's dealing with a group of players who want to play a fantasy campaign.

The very first Hero campaign I ever played in was Fantasy Hero (3ed). In fact, I played almost exclusively heroic-level Hero for more than a decade before I got into my first Champions campaign. I think Hero works really well for fantasy, but it depends on what type of fantasy game you want to play. If your players want to play a standard-issue D&D-style game, then yeah the D&D rules are probably better suited for that. But if you want to create your own original magic system(s), or you have a character concept that doesn't fit neatly into clearly-defined classes, or if you generally you want to play a different style of fantasy, then Hero allows you to do that far better than trying to force D&D into something it wasn't made for.*

 

The best way to hook D&D gamers into trying Fantasy Hero is to ask them "Have you ever had a character concept you couldn't make work in D&D? Maybe something from a book/movie that didn't seem to fit in a D&D world? Let's try building that."

 

The "other best" way to hook them in is: "Hey, I have this really cool idea for a fantasy game, where magic works a little differently, but I can't make it work using D&D rules. Are you guys willing to try this other system?"

 

Also note that Fantasy Hero requires much more up front work on the GM's part, particularly in terms of designing magic systems, world building, etc. In general I find the more work you expect new players to do, the more frustrated they're likely to get. Depends on your players, of course. Some will enjoy creating their own spells, so you can hand them the rule book and let them go nuts. (Subject to GM approval, natch.) Others will have a concept in their heads, but would prefer to let you handle the mechanics of building it. Other just want you to hand them a list of spells they can choose from.

 

The other things that drew me to FH immediately were the rules mechanics "fixed" several things that had always annoyed me about the D&D system (armor making you harder to hit; whittling away Hit Points by death from a thousand cuts; etc). And lastly - and this is entirely subjective - D&D characters always felt more like a 2-dimensional framework to hang magic items off; whereas Hero characters felt much more 3D, with magic items enhancing character abilities rather than supplanting them. YMMV on the last part. (On all of it, really.)

 

* BTW, this was my chief complaint with most of the published settings for Fantasy Hero. Turakian Age in particular felt like it was trying too hard to be "How to run a D&D game using Hero," as opposed to Tuala Morn and Atlantean Age which gave you something different and original that you couldn't do in D&D.

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I think Hero works really well for fantasy, but it depends on what type of fantasy game you want to play. If your players want to play a standard-issue D&D-style game, then yeah the D&D rules are probably better suited for that.

Sure, the Hero System is great for fantasy, and almost anyone intimately familiar with the Hero System already knows this. Moreover, for anyone moving to fantasy from a superhero RPG background, they are not only used to the detail and complexity of the Hero System, they probably like it because of the multitude of benefits that come with all that detail and complexity. But for everyone else, its likely to be off-putting on the face of it.

 

So from what I can tell, the issue isn't whether or not Fantasy Hero can be made to work for a particular style of play, the issue is the bias towards simpler, less-detailed systems that is common in the broader fantasy RPG culture. Players aren't necessarily looking for "D&D style", which implies a Vancian magic system and a rigid class-based character progression. Even the ones who are fed up with D&D's singular notions still believe that "simple and fast-playing" is the only way to go for a fantasy RPG, and won't often tolerate the sort of detail and complexity that the Hero System brings to the table, regardless of all the flexibility it buys.

 

At the end of the day, it seems to me that before you can really sell such players on the Hero System for fantasy, you first have to move them away from their "simple and fast-playing" bias. Once their minds are open to "complex but flexible", then you can offer up the best in the biz: the Hero System.

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Fair enough. But I don't think "simple and fast-playing" is necessarily a deal-breaker with Hero either. As we've all discussed numerous times, 90% of the complexity is in the character generation phase. If the GM is willing to do the bulk of the heavy-lifting in chargen, and limits the number of optional rules to a manageable handful, once you have everything on the character sheet Hero plays fairly quickly. Maybe not Fate-fast, but certainly no slower than D&D.

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When we played Hero in our Fantasy game, it went faster then the supers games I have run.  But it was still a bit slower due to all the options available and granular (compared to other systems I have played) nature (by this I mean the segments, recovery at the end of turns to track, etc.).

 

But Hero really works well when you have a rather 'story rich' realm you want to play that doesn't really have the 'D&D feel'.  Our sessions were probably around 90+% story based and the rest combat - by time used in a session.  The D&D type games I have run with this ratio tended to bog down (but I haven't played anything past the 3e of D&D).  But our Fantasy Hero game went on for several years.

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Fair enough. But I don't think "simple and fast-playing" is necessarily a deal-breaker with Hero either. As we've all discussed numerous times, 90% of the complexity is in the character generation phase. If the GM is willing to do the bulk of the heavy-lifting in chargen, and limits the number of optional rules to a manageable handful, once you have everything on the character sheet Hero plays fairly quickly. Maybe not Fate-fast, but certainly no slower than D&D.

You know that, and I know that. But they do not. And they have convinced themselves that the Hero System can't be made as fast and streamlined as Savage Worlds, or whatever system they are pushing for. Now, either you possess magical powers of persuasion that CT does not, or you underestimate how deeply entrenched the simple/fast/anti-HeroSystem bias is in the hearts and minds of players like those CT is faced with.

 

Like I said, you would probably have a much easier time getting such players to try the Hero System--including the streamlined experience you describe where the GM does the bulk of the "heavy lifting" during character building--if you first disabuse them of the notion that fantasy has to be ultra-fast and streamlined in the first place. The problem isn't really a misperception of the Hero System, but a dubious set of assumptions about how fantasy RPGs "ought to be". I think it is necessary to re-align those genre-based assumptions prior to recalibrating their perception of the Hero System.

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You know that, and I know that. But they do not. And they have convinced themselves that the Hero System can't be made as fast and streamlined as Savage Worlds, or whatever system they are pushing for.

Right. Isn't that the point? To show them yes it can?

 

...if you first disabuse them of the notion that fantasy has to be ultra-fast and streamlined in the first place.

But unless they've only ever played Savage World, Fate, etc, they already know that. If they're like 90% of gamers - and probably 99% of fantasy gamers - they've played at least a few sessions of D&D, Pathfinder, etc. Odds are that's what they started playing, and they swiched to SW because they wanted to play something simpler and faster. That's not a misperception; that's a statement of preference.

 

That's why I was comparing Hero to D&D. (Tho looking back, I realize I didn't explain the "here's why" as clearly as I could have.) For most gamers, and especially fantasy gamers, D&D is the baseline. The misperception is they think Hero is far higher on the complexity scale than D&D is. So if they're looking to play something simpler than D&D, the first step is to show them that Hero is simpler than D&D. Perhaps not as simple as SW, but if you strip off all the optional rules, ignore the SPD chart, etc - it can get pretty darn close. Throw in Hero Points so they don't have to give up their Bennies, and you can get a very similar play experience.

 

Now, either you possess magical powers of persuasion...

On the contrary, I'm not trying to persuade them to play a different game; I'm demonstrating that they can play the game they want with Hero.

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